The Director-General holds bilateral talks in Skopje

On 26 and 27 March 2008, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, paid an official visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to discuss the status of UNESCO’s cooperation with the country.

The Director-General met Mr Branko Crvenkovski, President of the Republic; Mr Nikola Gruevski, President of the Government; Mr Ljubisa Georgievski, President of the Parliament; Mr Antonio Milososki, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr Arifkmet Xhemaili, Minister of Culture and President of the National Commission for UNESCO; and Mr Pasko Kuzman, Director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office at the Ministry of Culture. Boris Trajanov, UNESCO Artist for Peace, accompanied the Director-General in the meetings.

During his discussions with the authorities, the Director-General paid tribute to the country’s active role in promoting regional cooperation in South-East Europe. The late President Trajkovski had launched the regional Summits of the Heads of State of South-East Europe by hosting their first meeting in Ohrid in 2003. Since then, the leaders of the region had met five times under the auspices of UNESCO. Reiterating his commitment to these regular encounters, President Crvenkovski confirmed his participation in the sixth regional Summit to be hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic in Athens in June 2008.

In parallel to the regional Summit meetings, UNESCO also supports the regular meetings of the Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe. The President of the Government informed the Director-General of the outcome of the world conference on “the Contribution of religion and culture to peace, mutual respect and cohabitation” organized in Ohrid in October 2007, which will be followed up by another conference in 2010. Mr Matsuura assured the President of the Government of UNESCO’s continued cooperation in the regard.

The Director-General expressed his satisfaction at the importance the authorities attach to the preservation of culture, which was also testified by the country’s ratification of the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Acknowledging the country’s rich cultural heritage, Mr Matsuura encouraged the authorities to submit candidatures for inclusion on the two lists of intangible cultural heritage as soon as the operational directives required to implement the Convention are approved by the General Assembly of the State Parties to the Convention.

On 26 March, Mr Matsuura participated with the Minister of Culture in the inauguration ceremony of the South-East European Centre for Digitization of Cultural Heritage. In his opening speech, the Director-General stated that the centre represented “an important step by the countries of South-East Europe, in cooperation with UNESCO, in developing their efforts to promote and preserve their diverse cultural heritage for present and future generations. Such efforts provide a strong foundation for development and peace based on tolerance and understanding.”

Before his departure, the Director-General visited the Cinematheque and St. Spas Church in Skopje.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 041-2008
  • 31-03-2008
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